The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/10/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
This was a really, really big news day. We`ve got a big show coming
up this hour. In fact, lots of news that we`ve been covering all day is
still going on tonight and still fairly unresolved. Fasten your seat
belts. Plans may change.
But within less than the last hour, two big stories have broken in
politics news, all since 8:00 p.m. this evening.
First news that broke is that CNN has just announced the roster of who
they`re going to allow into the second Republican presidential debate and
who they are not letting in to that event. Who they`re putting in a
separate event apart from the people who CNN says are the real candidates.
So, this is the list at 6:00 p.m. in this debate Wednesday night.
This is who`s going to be at the kids table. The kids table event will be
Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham.
So, that`s one, two, three, four, five of them, at the kids table. Not
allowed in the real debate for some reason. That will go from 6:00 p.m.
Eastern, next Wednesday night, 6:00 p.m. until 7:45.
And then, for some reason, CNN will stop that event, and they`ll just
do something else for 15 minutes or so, and then at 8:00 p.m., they`ll
start a whole new event, at which they will let these nice people on to the
stage. That will be Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina Mike Huckabee -
- again, no particular order here – Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Jeb
Bush, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie.
So, this, overall – this is the lineup just announced this hour by
CNN for the next Republican debate. It happens on Wednesday night at the
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Now, in the first Republican debate last month, this is going to be
the second one. CNN will be second. In the first Republican debate last
month, for some reason, the host of that debate, the FOX News Channel,
decided that even though there were 17 candidates running for the
Republican presidential nomination, they, the FOX News Channel, would only
allow the magic number of ten of those candidates to appear in their
debate. And the other seven candidates would be a shunted into this other
I believe that was a fairly ridiculous decision and they taped the
kids table debate in an empty arena. They kept showing in all of the
camera angles how empty the arena was. This was a really big insult to
those candidates. That was the first debate. FOX News did that.
But now that we have the second debate, CNN for whatever reason,
they`ve decided to stick to that format, that FOX News invented. That
magic number of ten candidates, led into the real debate and everybody else
forced to do some other thing.
Except in CNN`s case, after they had said that`s the way they`d do it,
they later decided after the fact that their magic number would not be ten,
it would 11. CNN after the fact, after they`d said how they would do their
debate, they later changed their rules so they would count the polls
differently than they previously said they would. They used the polls to
determine eligibility for their debate.
But when they changed the way they were counting the polls, that had
the effect of ranking Carly Fiorina as the tenth-ranked candidate in the
polls instead of the 11th ranked candidate. Under the old rules, she would
not have gotten into the real debate. She would have been at the kids`
table. They decided to change their rules in order to let her in.
And the new polling calculation for the way they count polls after
they made this change, their new polling calculation actually puts Chris
Christie in 11th place. Chris Christie the 11th-ranked candidate in the
race. So, I mean, by rights, the whole idea was we want ten in the debate.
By rights, the same rule change that let Carly Fiorina into the debate
should have pushed Chris Christie out of the debate. Since now under the
new rules, he`s no longer a top ten candidate, he`s number 11.
But, seeing that as the eventual outcome of this new rule change that
they made, CNN just decided they would fudge it a little more and let Chris
Christie in the real debate, too. It`ll be 11 people instead of 10. We
always intended for it to be 11.
It`s amazing. It`s amazing. It`s amazing. I mean, it`s one thing
for FOX to kind of fudge this because you think, oh, FOX is a Republican
organization, they have someone who they want to win and they`ll run things
in a way that allows that person favorable treatment. For CNN to do this,
it`s just – I mean, it`s worse than catches catch can – I won`t say
really what I think it is.
I find it amazing this is the way that any major political party is
picking their presidential candidate this year. It`s a total mess. But
we`ve got the lineup as of this hour – 11 Republicans on stage, next
Wednesday night for debate number two, and then these candidates, Lindsey
Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, they will be forced into a separate
event, which by rights should have Chris Christie stuck there, too, but CNN
decided to do him a favor for whatever reason. Amazing, because that`s how
we pick presidents.
So that`s the one thing that`s broken in the last hour. It`s amazing.
The other thing broken in the last hour, concerns Vice President
Biden. Vice President Biden in New York City today. Did an event with
Andrew Cuomo, mostly about the minimum wage.
He also did an event, very interesting event about the testing of
backlogged rape kits with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other top law
enforcement officials. He did a bunch of appearances, different
appearances today in New York City, but then, honestly, the highest profile
one was that Vice President Biden tonight taped an appearance for the new
late show at CBS starring Stephen Colbert. The third ever episode of the
new Stephen Colbert “Late Show”.
The vice president`s interview with Stephen Colbert was originally set
to be embargoed until the show airs tonight after 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
But it was really interesting thing on the news desk today. They`d told us
that the vice president talked about whether or not he was going to run for
president, but the – the remarks, the remarks were supposedly embargoed
and we were not allowed to say what he said.
But, then, the White House cleared us, cleared after we`d been told
there was an embargo. Then, the White House cleared us to tell you what
the vice president said, even before we were allowed to see the tape of
what the exchange looked like. So, I mean, Lord knows how these
calculations work, right? Maybe they figured, you know, once news
organizations saw the transcript, they figured it would get out anyway.
There`s no point in trying to stop it.
I don`t know, I`m speculating here. I think the reason that they may
have said it`s OK to break the embargo on what happened on the Colbert show
and the taping tonight, I think the reason they said it`s okay to break it
right now is because what the vice president said on Stephen Colbert`s show
at this taping tonight is truly newsworthy. And so, they made a
newsworthiness decision about putting it out.
Again, his remarks are about whether or not he`s running for
president. And I think what`s important about this is that Vice President
Biden has never come this close, before, to just saying what he`s going to
do. Again, we cannot show you the tape of this yet, we don`t have the tape
of this yet, they haven`t release that, they`ve just released this verbatim
comment to us.
But what this is, is we`re told, is an exact verbate of what the vice
president just said across town in Manhattan to Stephen Colbert at this
Here it goes, Stephen Colbert: “I want to talk about the elephant in
the room, which in this case is a donkey. Anything you`d like to tell us
right now about your plans?”
Vice President Biden replies, “Yes. I think you should run for
president again and I`ll be your vice president.”
To which Stephen Colbert says, “Well, you said this weekend that you
don`t know if you`re emotionally prepared to run for president.”
Vice President Biden then said this. I`m quoting from the verbatim –
what we`re told is a verbatim transcript, but again, I have to tell you, I
have not seen this tape. So I could not double check this transcript.
We`re just told this is what he said.
Quote, “Look, I don`t think any man or woman should run for president
unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president,
and number two, they can look folks out there in the eye and say, `I
promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my
passion to do this.` And I`d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.
It`s uh – I`m being completely honest. So, nobody has a right in my view
to seek that office unless they`re willing to give it 110 percent of who
And I am – as I said, I`m optimistic, I`m positive about where we`re
going. But I find myself, you understand it, sometimes it just overwhelms
you. And I can`t, I went out to – I went out to Denver and I landed in a
military base and I met a whole group of military families, which is not
unusual, it was a rope line about 100 yards from the aircraft. And about
2/3 in uniform and family members and I was thanking them. I really meant
it. One percent is fighting for the 99 percent of the rest of us.
And I was talking about them being the backbone and sinew of this
country and all of a sudden it`s going great and a guy in the back yells,
`Major Beau Biden, Bronze Star, sir, served with him in Iraq.` And all of
a sudden, I lost it. How could you? That`s not – I shouldn`t be saying
this, but you can`t do that.”
And, again, I think the implication is he`s saying you can`t be that
emotional and be president. You can`t have that kind of reaction and be
president. I don`t know. We`ll know more when we can see how he says it.
But right now, we just have that verbatim.
Vice President Biden tonight on the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert.
We`ve been given the okay to break the embargo on those remarks.
You know, Vice President Biden is not saying whether he has decided
whether or not he`s going to run. But the reason this is newsworthy, and I
think the reason it`s been lifted is because in these remarks, he is being
more explicit than he ever has been about why he wouldn`t run if he doesn`t
Vice President Biden obviously a very beloved figure in the Democratic
Party, particularly, even in a lot of the Republican Party, honestly, if
you listen to his, especially his former colleagues in the Senate. He`s
particularly beloved right now because of the empathy and sympathy people
have over the loss of his son Beau who died this summer of brain cancer.
And Vice President Biden talks about his son at every public appearance
that he makes now.
It may yet be that Vice President Biden decides to run for president.
But he hasn`t put in place any of the infrastructure to do it. He has not
started a campaign, obviously. He has not said that he will start a
campaign. He is talking ever more openly about what all the reasons are he
might not start a campaign. The first Democratic debate is in a month.
If you want my opinion, it is starting to feel like the media is
leaning way in on a question of Vice President Biden`s potential run,
mostly because the media is desperate to tell another story about Hillary
Clinton fighting a close fought fight. And so, Vice President Biden is a
great vehicle for telling that story.
Vice President Biden, though, may not run and it`s starting to feel
increasingly like he won`t. We have to wait for him to tell us. Our
speculation means nothing. He`ll eventually say.
The thing is, though, there is no reason to make up more than there is
about the prospect of a Vice President Biden candidacy in order to tell the
story of Hillary Clinton being in a close fought fight, because Hillary
Clinton already is in a real life, not imaginary, close-fought fight with
Bernie Sanders has polled ahead of Secretary Hillary Clinton in three
state polls in New Hampshire now. And today for the first time he polled,
just barely, just barely ahead of her in Iowa. I mean just barely, it`s
one point well within the margin of error, but he`s ahead.
The new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa puts Senator Sanders one point ahead
of Hillary Clinton in the Buckeye. And maybe this means Bernie Sanders is
now beating Hillary Clinton in Iowa, it might mean that. But the note of
caution here and interpreting this is that so far, it is just one poll.
Senator Sanders is up by one over Hillary Clinton in this one Iowa poll.
In the last three Iowa polls, she was beating him by 11 points, by 28
points, by 7 points in Iowa.
What I mean to say is that the next Democratic poll out of Iowa just
became really, really important. Because that will be the one that will
show if this poll released today is a fluke or if something really has
changed in Iowa. The tables really have turned in Iowa on the Democratic
So, this one poll shows something potentially very interesting. But
right now, this is like jazz, right? It`s – what`s not important is the
note that just played is not important. What`s important here is the note
that gets played next. Then you`ll know if the musical composition makes
On the Republican side today, the music was less jazz. It was more
hard core or something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not
a serious candidate. He`s a narcissist. He`s an egomaniac. The only
thing he believes in is himself.
The reality is, is that I want to say what everyone is thinking about
Donald Trump but afraid to say. Everybody knows this is true. This isn`t
– the idea of the Donald Trump act is great, the reality of Donald Trump,
however, is absurd.
He`s non-serious. He`s a carnival act. Donald Trump is for Donald
Trump. He believes in nothing other than himself.
Look, he`s not a liberal, not a moderate, not a conservative. He`s
not a Democrat, he`s not a Republican, he`s not an independent. Donald
Trump is for Donald Trump.
He`s not for anything. He`s not against anything. Issues don`t mean
anything to him. Policies, ideals are not important to him. He`s for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bobby Jindal today making, if not impassioned, then at least
well-considered remarks today at the National Press Club. But he gave
those remarks to a room of basically no one. One reporter snapping a photo
of Bobby Jindal speaking to a very small, but still half empty room of
people there to hear him today at the National Press Club.
But, you know what, FOX News carried that speech, and maybe that
counts for something. Who knows, maybe this line of attack going after
Donald Trump full-time. Maybe that will work for him. Something better
work for him soon or it`s probably curtains.
In the new national CNN poll on the Republican side, Bobby Jindal
polling at 1 percent. He`s pretty much at zero percent or 1 percent in
every poll now. Bobby Jindal not being allowed into the next Republican
debate by CNN. So who knows? If you were him, maybe you`d try attacking
Donald Trump and see if that would work.
At the top of the Republican polls right now, including this new
national CNN poll that`s out today, it is still Donald Trump and Ben Carson
up top. Today, Mr. Trump in this new poll, he`s out, not only out ahead of
Ben Carson and the rest of the field, he`s out ahead of them by more than
he has ever been ahead in the polls. He`s at 32 percent nationally in this
new CNN poll, which is the highest number he`s ever had.
Ben Carson, though, is the only other candidate in the new CNN
national Republican poll who`s in double digits.
And Donald Trump today spent most of the day trying to start a fight
with Ben Carson over abortion and religion and a few other things. Ben
Carson went along with it for most of the day today. But then he said he
would stop going along with it. They sort of had a mini fight today and
Ben Carson said, I`m not doing this anymore.
My estimation is that Donald Trump would not stop that fight. But
we`ll see. Now that Ben Carson`s trying to extricate himself from it.
But the new Ben Carson fight he`s picked is on top of another fight
brewing between Donald Trump and another candidate who is doing
increasingly well, Carly Fiorina.
“Rolling Stone” article out yesterday quotes Donald Trump as saying,
quote, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine
that being the face of our next president? I mean, she`s a woman, but
really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Donald Trump sort of tried to take back those comments today or skew
them differently. Saying he was referring not to her actual face even
though he kept saying the word face. He says today that what he was
referring to was her persona. He was just calling her persona her face.
So, Donald Trump tried to take back those comments. Not before
Hillary Clinton had a chance to say her own piece on the matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And, of course, we hear
from candidates on the other side about turning back the clock on women`s
rights. And there`s one candidate who seems to delight in insulting women
every chance he gets. I have to say, if he emerges, I would love to debate
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`ve got to admit. Probably everyone in the country would
love to see a Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump debate, except for the fact that
what that would mean is that Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee and
Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. And it would have to mean that
we`ve gotten that far toward the general election and he`s who they picked
and that might happen and – we should just have intraparty debates now.
Less stakes, more fun.
Hillary Clinton today calling out Donald Trump for his recent remarks
on women, specifically his recent remarks on Carly Fiorina. Hillary
Clinton, even with those poll numbers out in Iowa today showing her and
Bernie Sanders within one point of each other. And Bernie Sanders, in
fact, on top, even in that Quinnipiac Iowa poll today, you know, it`s
interesting, she still got a big gender gap in her favor. She`s still
doing great with Iowa women. Bernie Sanders wins with Iowa men, she wins
with Iowa women. And it`s not a close split in either case.
If Hillary Clinton sees women, not just in Iowa but nationwide as her
path to victory, well, she went to the one place on television today in
which you can reach more women at one time than anywhere else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: If I look at all the other candidates –
DEGENERES: – someone who is for rights across the board: equal
rights for women, equal rights for every ethnicity, equal rights for
everyone, it is the only person I can look at is you.
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you, Ellen.
CLINTON: Well, you know – first of all, look, I think it`s just a
reality that we`re held to a higher different double standard. And it gets
a little old, to be honest, but you just forge ahead. Don`t let all these
wonderful beautiful young women who are here, don`t get discouraged. Don`t
give in, don`t give up. Don`t quit –
CLINTON: – on yourself, on your dreams, on your future.
And I actually think, you know, look, I`m not asking people to vote
for me because I`m a woman, but I think if you vote for somebody on the
merits, one of my merits is I`m a woman. And I think that makes a big
difference in today`s world.
DEGENERES: Yes. But –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: There has been a lot of news today, on the campaign trail.
Including a lot of it breaks late in the day. Seems it`s happening with
the last days of summer. Who knows what will come next. But we`ve got
more ahead today with big news not just out of politics, but out of
Lots more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One note on the anti-Donald Trump speech that Bobby Jindal
gave today in Washington. Although it was basically an empty room that he
spoke to, that anti-Donald Trump speech did get covered live on FOX News,
which really wants for something in Republican politics.
And that coverage decision today came at a great cost to another
candidate who`s way, way down in the single digits of the polls, but who at
that moment was trying to relaunch his campaign by giving his new campaign
stump speech containing his new remarkable, unprecedented campaign promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You want somebody
who is going to wreak havoc, you need somebody with real solutions, that we
have laid out today and –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I promise to wreak havoc was the repeated tag line in Scott
Walker`s campaigning today. He was a little overshadowed by Bobby Jindal
at 1 percent taking shots at Donald Trump.
But, hey, there has never before been an American presidential
candidate who ran on the platform, he would wreak havoc if elected. And
so, Scott Walker may yet breakthrough. Listen up, FOX.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Tomorrow is September 11th. Tomorrow marks 14 years exactly
since the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States, which killed
nearly 3,000 people in 2001.
On the occasion of 14 years since 9/11, this year`s 9/11, both al
Qaeda and their mutant offspring ISIS have put out new additions of their
terrible terrorist magazines. Al Qaeda`s magazine is called “Inspire”.
There are now 14 issues of “Inspire,” including this new one.
And at various times, U.S. authorities have believed that “Inspire”
was put together by American members of al Qaeda, working with al Qaeda and
the Arabian Peninsula. I don`t know if that`s still true, but the current
issue of “Inspire” looks pretty much like every other one they have put out
so far, at least to my untrained eye.
Now, the magazine of ISIS on the other hand is called “Dabiq” and
“Dabiq” put out its 11th issue yesterday. At the same time al Qaeda put
out its new magazine. They`re competing on jihadi newsstands everywhere.
Honestly, they`re basically the same, both of them contain big
pictorial spreads on the 9/11 attacks showing the attacks, praising the
9/11 attacks as a great success.
The al Qaeda magazine, this time, calls for the assassination of a
list of rich, politically active Americans and, weirdly, American
economists they say they want lone wolf attacks that will have an outsized
economic effect on the United States. So, they`re encouraging their
followers to kill this list of rich people and people who aren`t
necessarily themselves rich, but who explain the economy? Well, or work on
economic issues? This is the second time al Qaeda has put out hit lists
on economists and famous rich Americans.
In the ISIS magazine, they`ve got another pictorial spread bragging
about their destruction of a 2,000-year-old temple recently in the Syrian
city of Palmyra.
And it`s interesting, as the west and increasingly the whole world has
been riveted and heartbroken by these pictures of terrified Syrian
families, you know, men and women and children doing anything they can to
get out of Syria and find shelter somehow in the West, in the ISIS magazine
that just came out, “Dabiq” magazine, ISIS also runs some of the same
heartbreaking photos that have been running in Western newspapers, showing
these refugees in dire straits or in some cases being killed on this very
dangerous journey that they`re making on their way out of Syria.
But, of course, because they are ISIS and they`re controlling big
parts of Syria, and that`s part of the reason they`re leaving Syria. The
message that ISIS wants to convey with these pictures is the complete
opposite of what everybody else in the world understands to be the
importance of those pictures. ISIS is running those photos they say as a
message to Syrians that they shouldn`t leave.
In the ISIS magazine, they`re showing the pictures of these poor
refugee families and kids under the headline, the danger of abandoning Dara
Islam, the danger of abandoning the lands of Islam. This is ISIS telling
the poor Syrian people, you know, don`t leave these areas that we`re
It`s so dangerous for you to try to leave. You should stay here!
We`re ISIS! We`ll take great care of you.
And, you know, of course, they`re making that case alongside the
pictures of the mass executions they`re carrying out in the territory that
they control and the pre-pubescent children that they`re turning into
suicide bombers and child soldiers. Yes, stay with us, what are you so
afraid of? It`s dangerous for you to leave.
But, there is one thing about this that is nice. And I say that not
in a sarcastic way, I mean it, it`s nice. And what is nice is that
alongside the al Qaeda magazine that just came out this week, the leader of
al Qaeda, the guy who became number one in command after bin Laden was
killed, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri just put out an audio recording this
week again, on the occasion of 9/11. It`s the first recording he`s done in
And it turns, for all the similarities we see between ISIS and al
Qaeda and their propaganda, what they`re selling and what they`re trying to
inspire people to do and what they are, indeed, accomplishing whenever they
get their way. For all the similarities we see between al Qaeda and ISIS,
it turns out, they kind of hate each other, which is nice.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, says in this new audiotape,
I quote, “My dear brothers, I want to emphasis an important point. We
don`t recognize the caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This caliphate was
forcibly established contrary to Islamic law and the Muslim people are not
obligated to it. We don`t recognize Baghdadi, the head of ISIS as the head
of the caliphate.”
Oh. He does go on to say, basically, yeah, I do hate these guys, but
they`re better than nothing, and if you have no better choice, it`s better
to fight with them than not fight at all. But he is giving the order to al
Qaeda`s followers. He`s making it known that al Qaeda is not down with
ISIS, the head of ISIS is a pretender, he has this pretend caliphate and
isn`t really no such thing and nobody should treat him that way. He
doesn`t deserve this respect he says he wants.
That`s nice. And that`s the sort of insult that, as far as we can
tell, will absolutely infuriate the guy who`s the head of ISIS, who thinks
he`s the king of the world. I mean, literally, he thinks he`s the kind of
So – on this somber occasion, which is the eve of the 9/11
anniversary this year, takes some small measure of comfort in the fact that
al Qaeda and ISIS are at each other`s throats. Good luck to both of you.
If what you guys are going to try to do now is kill each other, I
earnestly, earnestly wish you both the greatest success. But, of course,
the disaster in Syria and in the parts of Iraq that are controlled by ISIS,
that disaster is not just among these competing odious fighters. The
disaster in Syria is among all of these millions of human beings who are
not fighters but who are just people who live there. And who now because
of the fighting have nowhere to live.
And so, today, September 10th, we`ve got these remarkable twin
happenings in Washington, and these two things that basically happened at
the exact same time in Washington. It was amazing confluence of two
First, the White House got this huge victory today on one of the
biggest American diplomatic achievements in years. And incredibly heavy
political lift, most people thought it could not be done, most people it
couldn`t be negotiated in the first place, and if it did get negotiated by
some miracle, there was no chance it would survive in Washington. But it
survived today, as of today, it is done, Senate Democrats today blocked the
rejections to the nuclear deal. And therefore, it`s over.
Nothing blocking the Iran deal will ever get to the president`s desk.
There will be more nonsense toing and froing about this in the House, but
it`s official, the objections can`t pass. And so, today as of early this
afternoon, you know, cue the banner headlines. Senate Democrats clear the
way for the Iran deal, Senate blocks Republican measure against the Iran
deal, Senate rejects attempt to derail Iran deal in victory for Obama.
And as those headlines started to break across the country, the White
House put out a pretty dramatic statement about this from the president,
and he said, “This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national
security, for the safety and security of the world. For nearly two years,
we negotiated from a position of strength to reach an agreement that meets
our core objectives. Since we`ve concluded this negotiations, we`ve had
the most consequential national security debate since the decision to
invade Iraq more than a decade ago.
Over the last several weeks, the more members studied the details of
this deal, the more they came out in support. Today, I`m heartened that so
many senators judged the deal on its merits and gratified by the strong
support of lawmakers and citizens alike.”
So, that happened today. One of the most important diplomatic
achievements in this country in a generation or more, one of the most
important achievements of any kind of the Obama presidency, signed, sealed
and delivered today, on that incredibly controversial Middle East issue.
And then, basically, simultaneously comes news from the White House,
the announcement from the White House today that two doors down from Iran,
the United States will start opening our doors significantly wider to the
refugee families who are running for their lives from the hell that is year
five of Syria`s endless civil war.
What the White House announced today was a significant increase.
Fiscal year ends this month, so as of the end of this fiscal year, this
month, the United States will have taken in about 1,500 Syrian refugees
over the course of this past year, where the White House announced today
next year they want to go from 1,500 to 10,000 refugees from Syria. That`s
a significant increase from what we were doing before.
But in context, it`s not that much. Since this current crisis started
with all of these refugee families, risking their lives by the thousands to
try to get themselves to somewhere safe, just look at the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has said 120,000 Catholic parishes all over Europe should each
take in at least one refugee family. So, just the Catholic Church as an
institution, they`re saying they`ll take in 120,000 families. The whole
United States as a country is only talking about taking in 10,000
The country of Germany, since this latest crisis started, they`ve
pledged to take in 500,000 refugees per year. In context, just in terms of
the overall population, half million people may sound like a lot, but
proportionally, half million people brought in this refugees would
represent 0.62 percent of Germany`s population.
If we were being welcoming on the same scale as our ally German, if we
were also welcoming in 0.62 percent of our population, that would mean that
we were offering to take in roughly 2 million people into our country. Not
10,000. But 2 million, just to keep pace with what Germany has offered to
So, we do not know what`s going to happen to the White House`s
proposal now that they`ve made it. Ordinarily this coming up in the heat
of a presidential election would make something like this seem to be an
impossible domestic political lift.
But on the day that the Iran deal got saved and the Republican-led
U.S. Congress, domestic politics feel a little harder to predict than they
usually do, especially on thorny and morally complicated issues like this.
And honestly, in the middle of this presidential campaign, there are
definitely candidates out there who are saying it would be a terrible thing
to welcome these refugee families.
But a lot of the candidates on both sides of the aisle aren`t saying
this would be a good thing to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The United States must lead in assisting those who have been
uprooted by conflict, especially by millions of Syrian refugees now
beseeching the world to help them. As Pope Francis has reminded us, this
is an international problem that demands an international response. And
the United States must help lead that response. That`s who we are and
that`s what we do.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hate the concept of it,
but on the humanitarian basis, with what`s happening, you have to.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve always been a
country that`s been willing to accept people who have been displaced. And
I would be open to that.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should take
our fair share. We are good people. I don`t think the average American
has any idea of what it`s like to live in the Mideast right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: White House announcing a big change today – a big change
today on the issue of number of Syrian refugees that will be allowed into
this country. You would think in a presidential election year, that that
would be the hottest possible political topic. But on the Republican side,
at least, they are split on this issue and Democrats are absolutely with
the White House on this issue.
This is a live one. I don`t know how this one will go.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: The White House hit two huge foreign policy milestones today.
They celebrated basically the end of the opposition to the Iranian nuclear
deal in Washington. Democratic senators held together and stopped the
opposition bill in its tracks today in the Senate. No bill to stop that
deal will ever make it to President Obama`s desk. That became a done deal
Basically, simultaneous to that, the White House also announced today
that the United States will up the number of Syrian refugees our country
accepts from about 1,500 this year to what the White House says is a goal
of 10,000 next year.
Joining us now is a Democratic U.S. senator who is calling on the
United States to take not 10,000 refugees, but tens of thousands of these
refugees who were caught up in this current crisis. He, in fact, is just
back from the largest Syrian refugee camp anywhere, which is in Jordan.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut joins us now.
Senator, thanks very much for being with us.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes, thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Can you tell me about what you saw on your trip abroad and
how it affected how you feel on this issue?
MURPHY: Well, we spent a morning in the biggest Syrian refugee camp,
80,000 people, more than half of those are children. A handful of them are
in school. But most of them aren`t because they`re out on the streets
working for pennies in order to help feed their families.
The girls that are there often are sold into marriage by the time
they`re 12 or 13 in order to make a little bit of money for their family
and other kids we saw were digging trenches where feces and sewage run
through the middle of the camp, 250 are leaving every single day because
they`re going back to Syria, because they`ve been sitting in this camp for
two to three years with absolutely no hope. And they`re willing to
basically put their lives back at risk inside Syria rather than face that
reality for the next 2 to 3 years. And they`re all looking to the United
States for help. And we`ve got to deliver it to them.
MADDOW: Well, had a couple of complicated mixed and contrary feelings
when I heard this news today from the White House. First of all, 1,500 to
10,000 is numerically a large increase in terms of what the United States
is planning on taking in. Proportionally, 10,000 is very small compared to
what we`re seeing from other similar countries and big strong economies.
I also had feelings about the refugee process, which in terms of the
way it`s designed in the United States, it takes a long time. It takes a
year and a half or two years on average for anybody to clear the refugee
process. That just seems like it`s too slow a fix. It`s too slow a
lifeline to throw these folks.
How do you feel about those conflicting feelings?
MURPHY: Well, so the number`s clearly too low. But it`s all the
administration can do with the money they have. This is expensive to do
the vetting, especially the vetting necessary to make sure we`re bringing
people here safely.
But compare that to what we`ve done in the past. During Vietnam, we
brought 190,000 Vietnamese here. During the Balkans conflict, we brought
180,000 people from that sector of the world. So, this isn`t living up to
It does take long. But we need to make sure we get this right. And
frankly, for the people in those camps, if they know there`s a chance
they`re going to be able to get out of that region and be able to lead some
sort of normal life here in the United States, that will give them the hope
that will stop them from bringing their children back into zones that put
their whole families at risk inside Syria.
So, the hope that comes with a number that`s not 10,000, or more like
40,000, or 50,000 or 60,000 would be a game-changer in and of itself inside
MADDOW: The White House took great pains to say that when it comes to
giving money, not just opening the door, but giving money to help support
refugees in the places they already are. And refugee camps particularly in
places like Jordan, which is obviously a very close U.S. ally, that
nobody`s doing more than the United States.
Do you feel like in addition to trying to take in more people
ourselves that the money we`re spending to try to support the refugee
process is being well spent? Do you think we should be spending more of
MURPHY: Well, I think we should be spending more money on bringing
refugees here. I propose today that we should, you know, effectively be
taking all of this money we`re throwing down the drain and training rebels
who are refusing to fight once they go into Syria and use that money on
bringing more refugees.
But we also have a World Food Program that has run out of money inside
places like Jordan. We aren`t feeding millions of refugees – millions of
refugees that live outside of these camps because we`re not putting in
Now, we blame it on our partners and say that, well, the U.S. is the
most generous donor. But the reality is when we create a military
objective, we allocate every single dollar that we need in order to pursue
it. But when we go after humanitarian cause, the United States says we`ll
put in our share and we kind of blame everybody else for not doing theirs.
It`s just this double standard of foreign policy that we have in which
we fully fund our military activities and then we shortchange our
humanitarian activities. It comes in a huge human cost in the region and
ultimately a cost to our credibility.
MADDOW: Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut – thanks for
telling us about your position on this but also sharing with us that
experience from when you were just over there. Thanks for being here
MURPHY: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
Senator Murphy is a young senator, represents Connecticut, obviously,
and he`s – hasn`t been in the Senate very long, but he`s casting a really
deep shadow, a long shadow and deep shadow in terms of being aggressive and
thoughtful voice on the Democratic side on national security and foreign
policy issues, in a way I hear about in a complimentary way from lots of
Republicans who don`t agree with him but appreciate how serious he`s taking
the issue and how much space he`s taking up on this issue in Democratic
politics. So, anyway, I like him.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK. It`s been two whole years. Isn`t it time we shut down
the government again? Why not? Remember how fun that was?
Everybody keeps saying right now that we are definitely headed toward
another government shutdown by the end of this month.
But there`s one thing about the last government shutdown we had two
years ago that might mean our chances of avoiding a new one are better than
they look on the surface. I feel very optimistic. I think the lights
might be staying on. Nobody in the beltway agrees with me, but I`ve got a
And that story`s next.
MADDOW: Ready for another government shutdown?
You might not have to be. After the 16-day shutdown two years ago,
the Republican leadership in Congress swore they would not let it happen
But that is the talk in the Beltway again. Republicans are going to
shut the government down again, this time over Planned Parenthood funding.
Government shutdown number two, the Planned Parenthood sequel on the way.
That`s the Beltway forecast today and has been for a few weeks now.
Except consider the possibility one possible reason why a government
shutdown may not happen. I propose that the reason is Ted Cruz wants to be
the guy to lead the next government shutdown. He`s the guy really trying
to make it happen.
Ted Cruz, of course, led the charge to a shutdown in 2013, in a
pointless quest that never had a chance of defunding Obamacare. For two
weeks, national parks closed, and government offices all closed, and
memorials closed, hundreds of thousands of workers were furloughed the
economy lost billions of dollars and Obamacare was unaffected, which
everybody saw coming.
The only tangible result of Ted Cruz`s shutdown efforts two years ago
is everyone was annoyed by Ted Cruz, including his fellow Republicans. I
mean, these are the kinds of headlines he has earned over the last two with
years. I think the likes these. But still, Cruz alienated in the Senate
than ever, the most hated man in the Senate.
How unpopular is Ted Cruz right now? Republicans hate Ted Cruz so
much, he`s going to need a food taster.
On Capitol Hill, not only is Ted Cruz roundly disliked, it`s viewed as
somebody who`s not worth following any further.
Watch what happened this morning when John Boehner got asked about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Speaker Boehner, I was at the rally yesterday about the
Iran deal. There were people with signs that said, Boehner, McConnell,
repugnant traitors. You had Ted Cruz calling you out. Donald Trump said
you are not doing enough, as did Sarah Palin.
What do you make of the Republican candidates like Ted Cruz, Donald
Trump and Scott Walker running against you and Mitch McConnell?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of
presidential candidates out there are saying a lot of things. If I start
to comment on what they were saying I would spend all of my time doing
that. I am focused on doing my job here and I`m focusing on the priorities
of the American people.
REPORTER: Does Cruz`s criticism bother you particularly?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No, I have hobbies, I have a life. Am I worried about what
Ted Cruz – no.
House Speaker John Boehner barely containing, or not containing at all
his total disdain and disregard for Ted Cruz.
But now, Senator Cruz is at it again leading another charge to shut
down the government, this time over Planned Parenthood. He has invited
House conservatives to a meeting where they can hash out his new strategy
for the government shutdown. And the whole thing is getting a ton of
attention in the Beltway media, the idea the government may turn off the
lights because Ted Cruz wants to lead a government shut down to not defund
Planned Parenthood. Maybe the beltway press is right. Maybe this will
happen because Ted Cruz wants it to happen.
But, remember, birth control is very popular, and Ted Cruz is not.
MADDOW: Everybody says we`re on the way to the second government
shutdown in two with years, but I think the fact that Senator Cruz is
trying to lead the charge to that means there`s a pretty good chance it
Here to tell me I`m wrong is my friend John Stanton, D.C. bureau chief
John, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to be here.
MADDOW: Am I wrong? Do the lights go out at the end of the month?
STANTON: I don`t know yet. I mean, I think there`s a good chance of
it going out. I think that, you know, I think – Cruz has got a lot more
people that don`t like him in the building these days, most of them I think
frankly. There are a lot of them that get behind him still. You know,
he`s been pretty good about not trying to stir up this level of trouble
since the last shutdown. So, he`s not lost a fight of significance.
The other thing about Planned Parenthood in the House, Republican
districts a lot of them don`t have Planned Parenthoods in them because they
have been outlawed or pushed out or they live in states where they don`t
have them anymore. And so, for them, this is an issue they don`t feel they
can lose a lot on.
And so, I think it increases the likelihood of it. I mean, government
shutdowns, nobody likes it. Leadership is doing everything it can to
convince people that Ted Cruz is wrong. That shutting down the government
does not help Republicans. So, I don`t know. We`ll see.
MADDOW: At this point, I want to book you to come back regularly
throughout the course of this month to tell me each day how the odds of
this are increasing or decreasing depending on the amount of Ted Cruz`s
involvement. Do you agree to do that?
STANTON: I will definitely do that, sure.
MADDOW: OK. John Stanton will become my Cruz-o-meter.
John Stanton, D.C. bureau chief for “BuzzFeed News” – thanks, John.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Recapping the two big headlines which broke moments before we
got on the air tonight. First, CNN releasing its lineup for the second
presidential debate on Wednesday, and what appears to be a giant favor to
Chris Christie they are letting 11 on the stage for the main debate instead
Also, Vice President Biden going into detail tonight on Stephen
Colbert`s late night show about how he is deciding whether or not he`s
going to run for president.
It`s a busy night. Lots of late-breaking news.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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